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Parasite,' 'Peanut Butter' and pachyderms, best and worst movies of 2019
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times
2020-01-07

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In the cinematic world, 2019 will be forever remembered for its sheer variety.

For once, movies did not squeeze into a neat little box or get stuck in a rut as in years past. Bong Joon Ho's Parasite is a perfect example, as it doesn't fit into any one genre while tackling a class struggle storyline. Parasite is refreshing and a shows that foreign films are ahead of the curve, including in terms of telling queer stories this past year.

Avengers: Endgame beat up the competition as the highest-grossing movie of all time, but other movies overpowered the superheroes with stronger acting skills, such as Netflix's Marriage Story. Just give Adam Driver a trophy already; he began a stellar year with the horror comedy The Dead Don't Die, sang Sondheim in Marriage Story and played a son of a Solo in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

It came as no surprise that Joaquin Phoenix captivated as the Joker, but who knew that Adam Sandler would shine so much in Uncut Gems before the end of the year? Shia LaBeouf was completely overlooked during awards season, but really soared in terms of performance in The Peanut Butter Falcon. That modern Mark Twain story about a young man with Down syndrome on the run is the real diamond in the rough and should be sought out.

With no strong female representation in Martin Scorsese's mob movie The Irishman, viewers luckily had Greta Gerwig's Little Women to make up for it. Actress Florence Pugh was one to watch in the latter movie; she also headlined the horror film Midsommar and appears in the upcoming Black Widow movie this year.

Celine Sciamma's lesbian romance flick Portrait of a Lady on Fire was robbed of the French Oscar nomination. ( Les Miserables was chosen instead. ) Pain and Glory may possibly take home the newly named Best International Film Oscar. It's a return to form for Antonio Banderas to play gay once again and team with Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar.

The Elton John biopic Rocketman and Judy Garland film Judy rounded out the list for movies that were geared for the LGBT crowd in 2019.

Netflix tasted success in 2018 with Roma, learning to release movies in theaters just long enough to qualify for awards then allowing the audience to play them at home. The entertainment platform followed that by stepping up its game in 2019 with powerful films such as The Irishman, The Two Popes and Marriage Story. This bodes well for a promising cinematic future with new projects and stories to tell in 2020.

Best movies of 2019

10. The Peanut Butter Falcon

9. Uncut Gems

8. Portrait of a Lady on Fire

7. Judy

6. Rocketman

5. Pain and Glory

4. Toy Story 4

3. Little Women

2. Marriage Story

1. Parasite

Walt Disney Pictures crashed on several endeavors in 2019, like Dumbo with its featherweight character development and dark tones. Aladdin was gold at the box office, but Will Smith as Genie was all smoke and mirrors; Smith followed that performance up with Gemini Man's painfully bad dialogue later in the year.

It's the 50th anniversary of Sharon Tate's murder and two movies came out with her as the subject in 2019. Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood had Margot Robbie playing Tate, while The Haunting of Sharon Tate had Hilary Duff in the starring role. One was approved by Tate's sister, Debra, and is winning tons of accolades; the other is not. Can you guess which one?

Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst wrote and directed The Fanatic, miscasting John Travolta as an obsessed fan in a film with weird transitions and strange narration. Travolta spouting a line about having to "poo" in the first scene gives the audience a clue to what's in store for this stinker.

Speaking of something that should have been left in the litter box, Cats might not only be the worst movie of 2019, but of all time. Taylor Swift can keep on throwing glittery catnip into the crowd, but Cats is just not campy enough to make it a good "Memory."

Worst movies of 2019:

10. Men in Black: International

9. Aladdin

8. Charlie's Angels

7. Dumbo

6. Last Christmas

5. Rambo: Last Blood

4. The Intruder

3. The Haunting of Sharon Tate

2. The Fanatic

1. Cats


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